HD DVD Appears to Have Early Edge

The HD DVD Promotional Group said at the DigitalLife Electronics show in New York City Thursday that the technology continues to gain momentum, despite being at a disadvantage when it comes to content. The group also provided more details into future hardware plans.

According to Nielsen data in August, HD DVD sold three times as many discs as any other high-definition format, including Sony's Blu-ray. In addition, the survey company also found that customers of the format owned an average of 8.4 DVDs.

The format already has a best seller: Universal's "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift," which sold through 30 percent of its inventory in the first week alone. These numbers are sure to please studios that have selected the format, such as Universal and Warner Home Video.

Future titles include Warner's "V for Vendetta," releasing October 31, as well as "Superman Returns," "Mission: Impossible 3," "King Kong" and "Nacho Libre." By Christmas, an additional 150 titles are expected on top of the 80 already available, the most of any high-definition format.

The HD DVD technology will also get a boost from Microsoft, which plans to release the $199 USD HD DVD add-on for the Xbox 360 in time for the holiday season. The unit will include a remote and a copy of Universal's "King Kong," the group said.

Additionally, Toshiba's second-generation HD DVD players will soon be released, the HD-A2 and HD-XA2. The latter would support 1920 x 1080p, the highest HD signal currently available.

Univeral Studios president Craig Kornblau pointed to the backwards compatibility of HD DVD as one of its greatest strengths. "We're not settling for offering great high definition movies with cutting edge interactivity - we also want to deliver value by future-proofing your collections," he said.

HD DVD is currently backed by Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Warner Home Video, Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment, HBO, New Line Home Entertainment, Rhino Entertainment, Image Entertainment, The Weinstein Company, Brentwood and HDNET.

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